Perform a Google search on “Pope Lick Monster,” and you won’t find all that much as it relates to the beer being presented. What you will find, though, is some talk about a legendary creature in the form of a goatman that lived under a railroad trestle near Pope Lick Creek in Louisville, Ken. That’s all well and good, I suppose, but at first glance that doesn’t get us any closer to figuring out why the Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, Penn. chose this name for a beer.

Tired Hands Pope Lick Monster Growler

Poke around a bit more, though, and you find that Pope Lick Monster was apparently the first beer in Tired Hands’ Halloween Cryptozoology series. According to an event post on their website, this line of “strange, forward thinking brews” was inspired by some of the brewery’s favorite cryptozoological creatures, with each being released in October of this year. Others include:

  • Mananangal — pear cider gose — 6.2 percent ABV
  • Grassman — DIPA — 8.7 percent ABV
  • Dobhar-chú — squash-infused extra special bitter — 4.2 percent ABV
  • The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp — Simcoe pale ale — 6.2 percent ABV
  • Chupacabra — robust mole stout — 6.6 percent ABV

Now, while it may sound like a beast of a beer , Pope Lick Monster isn’t nearly as foreboding as its name implies. In fact, you have to almost wake it up a little after you open it, since it requires a somewhat aggressive pour to get any level of head formation whatsoever. Even then the foam is fleeting, as it quickly fades leaving you with a rather still looking dark brown beer.

Tired Hands Pope Lick Monster

Aromas of roasted malt and cocoa power are present, if not particularly perky, but things pick up a bit during the taste. The aforementioned flavors are more forward on the tongue, joined by elements of burnt sugar, coffee, licorice and a hint of dark fruit.

The highest concentration of flavor, though, happens more towards the finish. It’s there that the mix takes on a character I would describe as most like that of devil’s food cake. That might suggest there’s a level of density with regards to texture, but other than a slightly chewy palate that’s really not the case. The beer is medium-bodied and quite drinkable, ending somewhat dry with mild bitterness and a lightly lingering aftertaste.

Tired Hands Pope Lick Monster
BREWERY: Tired Hands Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Ardmore, Penn.
STYLE: Porter
ABV: 8.5 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: n/a
RELEASE DATE: October 2014
The post referenced above lists the beer as an Imperial brown ale, while popular online rating sites categorize it as a porter. As with many things, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. There's a bit more roast than you typically find in a brown ale, but not so much that I'd go so far as to call this a robust porter. Then again, I would say there is more complexity that you might find in either of those particular styles. At the same time, regardless of how you classify it, the aroma seems subdued compared to the taste, which in and of itself really doesn't stand up and make you take notice until, quite literally, the bitter end. While I certainly think Pope Lick is a good beer, I can't help but wish for a little more consistency in flavor from start to finish.
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